THEN AND NOW: A season ago, Auburn went from being the worst team in the SEC West to conference champion and a last-minute loss to Florida State in the final BCS title game. In 2014, it will have senior QB Nick Marshall and a strong running game.
THE BUZZ: Though all the talk has been about Marshall’s citation for marijuana possession Friday, one topic that frequented coach Gus Malzahn’s eardrums was the impact of the no-huddle and spread offense. The Tigers led the country last season with 4,596 rushing yards, including 1,068 by Marshall. In 2014, Auburn’s attack will get the opportunity to prove the losses of RB Tre Mason and LT Greg Robinson won’t hurt the rushing game when Arkansas comes to town for the season opener Aug. 30.
MALZAHN SAID IT: “We’ve been running this offensive system since 1996, and we’ve had success. ... I just think that’s where the game is going.”
THEY TWEETED IT: “What a difference 4 years makes, players develop leaders emerge! #WDE #SecMediaDay”
— Senior DE Gabriel Wright (@NineORhino)
THEN AND NOW: Florida went backward in 2013, finishing 4-8 after an 11-2 campaign in 2012. Coach Will Muschamp was optimistic when he took the podium.
THE BUZZ: Florida fans only got to see quarterback Jeff Driskel for three games last season before he suffered a season-ending leg fracture against Tennessee. The junior will look to return to his form of 2012, when he threw for 1,646 yards and 12 touchdowns while running for 408 yards and four touchdowns. According to Muschamp, Driskel is healthy and ready to go. To help with his development, Muschamp added former Duke offensive coordinator Kurt Roper as quarterbacks coach.
MUSCHAMP SAID IT: “(Driskel) was recruited to Florida to be a gun quarterback, and so in making that change, I felt Kurt Roper was a great hire for us.”
THEY TWEETED IT: “Field trip and my bag lunch I’m good #SECMedia.”
— Junior DE Dante Fowler (@TheDanteFowler6)
THEN AND NOW: Vanderbilt was 9-4 in 2013, but former coach James Franklin is now at Penn State and a new regime has begun under former Stanford defensive coordinator Derek Mason. With a quarterback battle on his hands, 2014 will be quite a handful.
THE BUZZ: When Mason walked up to the podium Monday, he seemed to know what question was coming: What does Vanderbilt’s QB situation look like? Three players are in the running: sophomore Patton Robinette, redshirt freshman Johnny McCrary and LSU transfer Stephen Rivers. Mason said he won’t name a starter until the season opener against Temple.
MASON SAID IT: “What we’ll do is go through the process and make sure that we have plenty of evaluation time to make the right decision. ... A two-quarterback system is not the way I want to go.”
THEY TWEETED IT: “S.E.C. Media Day 2014 begins today. The Commodores are up and we will have our day. A great group of Committed & Trained representatives!”
— Mason (@CoachDerekMason)